Sustainability is the balance between the environment, equity, and economy.
Recycled polyester, often called rPet, is made from recycled plastic bottles. It is a great way to divert plastic from our landfills. The production of recycled polyester requires far fewer resources than that of new fibers and generates fewer CO2 emissions.
There are 2 ways to recycle polyester: For mechanical recycling, plastic is melted to make new yarn. This process can only be done a few times before the fiber loses its quality. Chemical recycling involves breaking down the plastic molecules and reforming them into yarn. This process maintains the quality of the original fiber and allows the material to be recycled infinitely, but it is more expensive.
Recycled polyester is definitely a sustainable option for our wardrobe.
1.Keeping plastics from going to landfill and the ocean - Recycled polyester gives a second life to a material that’s not biodegradable and would otherwise end up in landfill or the ocean. According to the NGO Ocean Conservancy, 8 million metric tons of plastic enter the ocean every year, on top of the estimated 150 million metric tons that currently circulate in marine environments. If we keep this pace, by 2050 there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish. Plastic has been found in 60 percent of all seabirds and 100 percent of all sea turtle species, because they mistake plastic for food.
2.rPET is just as good as virgin polyester, but takes less resources to make - Recycled polyester is almost the same as virgin polyester in terms of quality, but its production requires 59 percent less energy compared to virgin polyester, according to a 2017 study by the Swiss Federal Office for the Environment. WRAP estimates rPET’s production to reduce CO2 emissions by 32 percent in comparison to regular polyester. “If you look at life cycle assessments, rPET scores significantly better than virgin PET,” adds Magruder.
In addition, recycled polyester can contribute to reduce the extraction of crude oil and natural gas from the Earth to make more plastic. “Using recycled polyester lessens our dependence on petroleum as a source of raw materials,” says the website of outdoor brand Patagonia, best known for making fleece from used soda bottles, unusable manufacturing waste and worn-out garments. “It curbs discards, thereby prolonging landfill life and reducing toxic emissions from incinerators. It also helps to promote new recycling streams for polyester clothing that is no longer wearable,” adds the label.
The most often quoted definition comes from the UN World Commission on Environment and Development: “sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”
Sustainable practices support ecological, human, and economic health and vitality. Sustainability presumes that resources are finite, and should be used conservatively and wisely with a view to long-term priorities and consequences of the ways in which resources are used. In simplest terms, sustainability is about our children and our grandchildren, and the world we will leave them.